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Vaidya. Jayarajan Kodikannath

Vaidya. Jayarajan Kodikannath Vaidya. Jayarajan Kodikannath
Quantum University


Vaidya. Jayarajan Kodikannath is an internationally renowned ayurvedic scholar, author, researcher, educator and keynote speaker with more than two decades of ayurvedic clinical experience in India and the U.S. He is currently the CEO and chief ayurveda consultant of Kerala Ayurveda USA and president of National Ayurvedic Medical Association in the U.S. “Dr. J,” as his students call him, is a compassionate healer and educator, devoted to the mission of propagating the consciousness based traditional teachings and practice of Kerala’s Ayurveda across the globe.

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Q: What inspired you to write The Parent’s Complete Guide to Ayurveda?

A: I am an ayurvedic doctor representing a lineage of ayurveda tradition in India. I have been consulting and guiding a lot of children in my practice in India and in the U.S. for more than two decades. I have seen parents struggling over what they should do to support their children to ensure proper growth and development at physical, mental and emotional levels and to sustain health and wellbeing. I thought it would be very helpful to have a guide to explain systematically how they can help their children. And also, today’s children are the future of the world, and this is a contribution from us to support a healthy future world!

Q: What role does the mind-body connection play in a child’s health?

A: Mind-body connection is everything. In fact, mind and body are two separate entities, but they stay as one unit influencing each other for every stimulus. Ayurveda explains that the human does only three types of actions in their life via bodily actions, mental actions and verbal actions. If you look at it in depth you will realize that most of the body functions are controlled by the mind (especially the motor movements), and all the mental and verbal actions are completely controlled by the mind. That means every stimulation and reaction of the mind directly impacts the body and its functions and vice versa. That is the reason why a condition such as eczema flairs up when the child is in mental or emotional distress—the immune system is impacted by the mind in a major way.

Q: Children often catch colds and other ailments at school. How can parents boost their immune systems?

A: While commonly we relate the “cold” and such disorders as the outcome of microorganisms like viruses and bacteria, ayurveda clearly relates all such issues to the child. When the individual’s mind-body systems are balanced and the immune resistance is strong, such disorders will not affect the child despite regular exposure or close contact with other infected children. That means the real focus should be on enhancing the resistance and that can be achieved by proper diet and lifestyle management, balanced physical activities, timely sleep and simple practices parents can do with the children, such as breathing exercises, that can keep them in good spirits. There are also natural ayurvedic herbal supplements available to support this.

Q: Please explain the “four inputs.”

A: The only four inputs in our lives are food, water, breath and perceptions. The way we manage these inputs defines whether a child stays healthy or gets into the possibilities of various mind-body disorders. Here the food includes the time of meals, type of food as well as the quantity of food consumed from time to time to facilitate balanced nourishment without accumulation or stagnation and without depletion. Water is the medium for the body functions including circulation, nourishment and
elimination. The optimal water intake in a day ensures these functions are happening in a balanced way. But, ayurveda explains that it doesn’t mean that the more the water the child takes the better as excess water intake can delay the digestions as the digestive secretions including the stomach acids will be excessively diluted if the water intake is too much. From an ayurvedic standpoint breath not only provides the oxygen to the system but it can also influence the mind-body rhythms and alignment. There are breathing practices (pranayama) known for regulating the mind-body functions including metabolism and mental focus.

Perception is the most impactful input out of four, as it is all about the care of mind and how the child’s sensory perceptions influences the mind, and that it in turn influences the body systems.

Q: Getting a child to go to sleep is a struggle for many parents. What advice do you have?

A: Sleep is a state of mind at complete rest. How we are able to support children to bring them to a state of calmness and relaxation is the key to facilitating timely sleep. Creating a routine and habituation from the early ages can make it much easier as the mind-body systems always will have a tendency to follow what they are habituated with. There are many other simple supports we can provide to our children to make it easier for them to sleep, like creating a process of winding down when it is close to the sleeping time, giving some warm milk at night, taking some relaxing deep breaths, and even applying a few drops of coconut oil or herb infused ayurvedic oils, such as Ksheerabala Thailam over the crown of head and under the feet can help.

Q: In the book, you mention that most children are “natural-born yogis.” What steps can parents take to help their children adopt yoga, breathwork, meditation and mantras into their lives?

A: Yes, children are natural-born yogis because yoga is to bring alignment and clarity to the mind and minds of children are fresh and pure. Since childhood is the period of creating initial impressions and experiences in life, their true status of mind is open, clear and ready to get molded in any one way. This gives an opportunity for the parents to incorporate simple practices of yoga, breathwork and such practices in the daily practices of their children. The most effective way to facilitate this is for parents to create some simple practices together with their children so that it will not only be a process of creating healthy practices for their children but a fun-filled family routine that creates more bonding and feelings of support and togetherness, which is vital in the mental and emotional development of children.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: Parenthood is the most fulfilling and rewarding opportunity in human life. A child is like a vibrant canvas where the parents should know that they can facilitate creating and molding beautiful expressions that not only make the child a healthy, intelligent and confident adult but contributes to a the healthy and vibrant future world.